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Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs is a fairy tale featuring talking animals. Published versions of the story date back to the late 18th century, but the story is thought to be much older. The phrases used in the story, and the various morals which can be drawn from it, have become enshrined in western culture.


Mother Pig sends her three little pigs out into the world to "seek their fortune".

The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and eats the pig. The encounter between wolf and pig features ringing proverbial phrases:

One day the big bad wolf came and knocked on the first little pig's door and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in." And the little pig answered, "No, no, I won't let you come in, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin." "Well," said the wolf, "then I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in." So he huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down and swallowed the first pig.

The second pig builds a house of sticks, has the same conversation with the wolf, who huffs and puffs the house down and swallows the second pig.

The third pig builds a house of bricks. The wolf cannot huff and puff hard enough to blow the house down. He attempts to trick the third little pig out of his house, but the pig outsmarts him at every turn. Finally, the wolf threatens to come down the chimney, whereupon the third little pig boils a pot of water into which the wolf plunges. In some versions, the pig cooks the wolf into a stew and eats him.

In recent years, the story has been retold in a softer tone. In these retellings, no one is eaten; the two less prudent pigs escape to their brother's house, while the wolf escapes rather than being killed and eaten.

Printed versions - Traditional

The tale has several similarities with "The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids" (the "kids" being young goats) included in Grimm's Fairy Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen, or Children's and Household Tales) by The Brothers Grimm, a collection that was first published in 1812 and had several revisions and additions until 1857.

The tale of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf was included in Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, first published around 1843. It seems to have become popular during the late 19th century. Variations of the tale appeared in Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings in 1881. The story also made an appearance in Nights with Uncle Remus in 1883, both by Joel Chandler Harris, in which the pigs were replaced by Brer Rabbit. Andrew Lang included it in "The Green Fairy Book", published in 1892, but did not cite his source. The story in its arguably best-known form appeared in English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, first published in 1890 and crediting Halliwell as his source.

Printed versions - Re-envisioned

The Three Little Pigs were prominently featured in the second story arc of the Fables. Two of them were prominently involved in an attempt to overthrow the Fabletown government, and were beheaded for the murder of the third pig, who had tried to warn Snow White of trouble brewing at the "Farm" where non-human-looking Fables are required to live. At the end of the story arc, they were replaced by transformed giants. The giants had agreed to this transformation because the only other option they had was an enchanted sleep---they are difficult to hide and impossible to explain.

A more recent version titled The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig switches the character roles of the traditional story.

David Wiesner's The Three Pigs uses the characters from the traditional story, but has the pigs leave the pages of the story for an exploration of the world beyond the Fourth Wall. The book won the 2002 Caldecott Medal

The Disney Cartoon

A well-known version of the story is an animated short film produced by Walt Disney and directed by Burt Gillett, Three Little Pigs, first released on May 27, 1933 by United Artists. The short introduced names for the pigs: Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig and Practical Pig. It was hugely successful and won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. In 1994, Three Little Pigs, Doc? was voted #11 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by 1000 members of the animation field.


  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith under the pen name of A. Wolf
  • The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas
  • Fred Dibnah's Fairy Tales: The Three Little Gibs, in Viz magazine. (The "Gibs" were caricatures Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, from the pop group The Bee Gees. They were eventually eaten by the wolf.)
  • Cynthia Ensign Baney's musical comedy, The Three Little Pigs: a Cautionary Tale of Consumerism, the pigs learn a musical lesson on the importance of being wise consumers. Baney's original script, lyrics and score, is one three musicals written to receive the Olin B. Davis award for excellence in education.

In politics

In March 2007, the story was modified in some British schools to "three little puppies" to avoid offending Muslim families, a move described by Ibrahim Mogra from the Muslim Council of Britain as "bizarre". However the name has changed back to the Three Little Pigs.

In January 2008 a story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale, 'The Three Little Cowboy Builders' was turned down by a British government agency's awards panel citing that the subject matter could offend Muslims and builders, "Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?". The digital book, which was re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges who warned that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues".

Works influenced

In New York City the Manhattan Children's Theatre presented a Rockabilly musical adaptation with tunes and lyrics by Kyle and Sarah Norris, starring Katie Knipp, Stephen McFarland, Mike Mitchell, Jr., Julie Mozdy, Molly Roberson, and Chris Will. The production ran through the winter of 2006-2007

In Japan, the puppet show that draws the subsequent story of Three Little Pigs, Bū-Fū-Ū , was aired in 1960 to 1967. The show named the Three Little Pigs Bū, Fū and Ū.

Roald Dahl rewrote it in a more modern and gruesome way in his book Revolting Rhymes (1982)

There was also a Green Jelly metal music video rendition of the story, which broke the Top 20 in 1993.

The Three Little Bops was a 1957 Looney Tunes animated short film heavily based on the three little pigs tale, but with a modified story sung as lyrics to a jazz tune by Stan Freberg.

The Death in June album All Pigs Must Die.

The Three Little Pigs are bosses in the Game Boy title Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. Mario fights them one after the other at the conclusion of Mario Zone.

In Heroes of Might and Magic IV there is a scenario where there are three heroes known as the three pigs.

The Three Little Pigs have made many appearances in WB Looney Tunes cartoons, including an adaptation of the original tale was done to the music of Brahms' Hungarian Dances nos. 5, 6 and 7. The Three Pigs were cast as antagonists in the Bugs Bunny cartoon The Wind Blown Hare (1949).

The Three Little Pigs are Shrek's friends in the Shrek movies.

Sesame Street had a few News Flash segments about the Three Little Pigs, one of them featuring Count Von Count.

In a gruesome version of the story, Tales from the Crypt had an episode, The Third Pig, in which the third pig is framed for the horrific murders of his brothers.

Studio 100 produced a musical in 2003 named The Three Piglets (De Drie Biggetjes). K3 performed the part of the three little pigs. In the musical the daughters of the little pig who built the stone house fall in love with the three sons of the big bad wolf, much to the dismay of the wolf.

Three Little Pigs was adapted into a hit song by the comedy heavy metal band Green Jellö. The song peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the UK singles chart.


  • Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons (revised ed.). United States: Plume. ISBN 0-452-25993-2.


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